By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for the Newkirk High School (NHS) co-ed cheer team. They won their fourth-consecutive State Championship Saturday, Sept. 25, and have received many more accolades along the way, including Monday evening, Oct. 11 when the Newkirk city commission and Newkirk Public Schools (NPS) Board of Education recognized the team for their efforts in winning the Championships.
The team is coached by Kim Wilson and assistant coach Baylie Wilson.
The city commission declared Oct. 11 as “Newkirk High School Cheer Team Day.” Mayor Dereck Cassady read the proclamation during the meeting. Later that evening at 7, the Board of Education provided their own proclamation, and Coach Kim Wilson introduced the co-ed team.
“It was very nice. I was really excited the kids got the recognition they deserve,” Kim Wilson said.
Competitive cheer began in Oklahoma in 1992. Newkirk’s team was organized in 1997, and would eventually amass seven championships, including the past four. They landed their first championship that first year, in 1997, and followed it with 2007, 2009, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Four championships back-to-back is unprecedented in high school athletics.
“It is big. There is a lot of pressure, your team dynamics change every year and you have a target on your back,” Wilson said.
The athletes begin practicing in the summer in early July with choreography. Once the routine is finalized, the practices begin, with many hours spent to get it right.
As for the performance itself, it is a fast-paced, high-precision event.
“It is pretty intense. You have so many different elements that have to be perfect,” Wilson said. “Cheer is different than other sports because you don’t get a second chance or come up through the loser’s bracket. You get it done right, or you don’t.”
They aren’t just a team who competes on the state level, but through the hard work and sacrifice, they feel like family.
“Cheer to me is like a big family, but a lot of hard work. I enjoy it because I love competing in front of a everyone, even though it gets a little nervous,” said freshman Ayanna Williams.
Many of the cheer team members are thrilled with the fourth-straight Championship, and for the underclassmen, they plan to continue with the winning program.
“Co-ed Cheer is like my family. There are such strong bonds, and I love it,” said Peyton Bannister. “I will definitely continue through my senior year.”
Other community members recognize the success of the seniors.
“We have a select few seniors at Newkirk who have won four consecutive state championships during their high school years in Co-Ed Cheer, and very few students can claim they are a part of the ‘Quad Squad,’” NPS Superintendent Scott Kempenich said. “Our school is very proud to have such an excellent coach and a team that is willing to pay the price to be the best.”
City officials also are proud of their work and the way they represent not only NPS, but also the larger Newkirk community.
“I think it is an incredible achievement. It just speaks to the hard work and dedication, not only of the cheerleaders, but the coaches, as well,” City Manager Ryan Smykil said. “I’m very proud to have such an accomplished team here.”
As for the fourth win, the team is simply proud to have the success that NHS has experienced.
“I’m really proud of the kids and their hard work and efforts to maintain the tradition that is Newkirk Co-Ed Cheer,” Wilson said.